Dob in a dog fouler!
That’s the message from South Ribble Council after it admitted officers are getting tip-offs from members of the public who spy irresponsible dog walkers out on the streets.
People who are caught letting their dog foul on pavements and in parks, or who let their pets off leads on the borough’s roads, are given a fine and a telling off.
But it’s now come to light that not only are council officers catching people during routine patrols – they’re also being told about culprits from eagle-eyed neighbours.
Coun Peter Mullineaux, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and street scene, revealed: “Our neighbourhood officers carry out regular patrols in every ward throughout the borough, and we encourage residents to report any problem areas, which they can do either by phone or online via our website.
“If people report a problem, our officers will investigate and clean up if necessary.
“We will then step up enforcement patrols in that area including, in some cases, early morning or late evening visits to catch the culprits.
“In addition, when appropriate, we will visit or send a letter to individuals, warning that they must pick up after their dog and not allow it to roam unsupervised.”
The council now uses 41 trained officers who can issue fixed penalty notices of £75, and from April to August this year, a total of 101 fines have been handed out.
This also includes cases of littering and fly tipping, and the total of more than 100 fines compares to 64 fixed penalty notices in 2009/10, and 96 in 2010/11.
But dogs being off leads is the biggest problem this year, with 58 cases, and only two people have been charged for dog fouling offences.
Offenders can also be taken to court if necessary, and two people have appeared before Leyland magistrates recently.
James Clayton, of Gloucester Avenue, Farington, pleaded guilty by post to failing to clean up after his dog on Broadfield Drive, Leyland.
He was fined £75 and also ordered to pay £75 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The court heard a police officer and PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) witnessed the incident while out on patrol.
In a separate case, Mark Moore, of Valley Road, Penwortham, pleaded guilty by post to allowing a dog off its lead on Leyland Road, Penwortham.
He was fined £75 and ordered to pay £75 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The court was told the dog was seen running across the road, causing traffic to slow down to avoid it.
Coun Mullineaux said: “I believe our zero tolerance approach to dog fouling and stray and loose dogs is paying off.
“We have been cracking down on irresponsible dog owners at the request of residents over the past two years, which is reflected in the increased number of fixed penalty notices that we’ve issued in the borough.”
He added: “The vast majority of South Ribble’s dog owners are responsible and co-operative, but there is a minority who cause the problems.
“These latest cases should serve as a warning that we take our responsibilities to keep our streets clean and safe very seriously.”
Dogs are allowed off leads in certain areas of the borough, such as parks and some public footpaths, but not next to roads.
The ‘zero tolerance’ scheme was introduced after a number of vicious dog attacks in South Ribble, which occurred when pets were not on leads.
n To report a problem, call the council on 01772 421491.